Now that Summer vacation has officially kicked off–we’re re-visiting a post from 2014 all about Pine Island Park. The park was THE place to be for summer fun right here in Manchester! Pine Island Park provided fun for decades and I had NO clue it even existed until last May!
Apparently “in the early 19th century, many companies that owned and ran trolleys opened recreation areas at the end of their lines to give people a reason to use their services on the weekends.” Pine Island Park was just that! It opened in 1902 right here in Manchester. “It was an 18 minute trolley ride from City Hall on Elm Street to a location down on Brown Avenue opposite the present-day Pine Island Plaza shopping center. There, one disembarked from the trolley and climbed a set of stairs to the park.” How’s that for convenience?
The Park “offered…fireworks, live entertainment, dancing, boating, swimming, in addition to the amusement park rides. There were two wooden rollercoasters, a carousel and a variety of other rides and games.” At its peak, Pine Island Park hosted almost 15,000 people for fireworks a NIGHT!
Sadly, in 1936, “the park was delivered a huge blow when the Board of Health declared the pond was too polluted for swimming.” The Flood of 1936 also devastated the park.
Then, “The Hurricane of 1938 felled roughly 3000 of the large pine trees that had given the park its name. Many rides and buildings were damaged as well, including the roller coaster and Ferris Wheel.” While the rides and buildings were repaired, “with the advent of the automobile, people were able to travel further distances to find recreation, and trolley parks were no longer as popular as they had been…”
The park was still standing and operating until 1961 when a devastating fire roared through the park resulting in the park’s closing in 1962. The park, of course, is still open for public use, albeit without any amusement park rides!
But that’s not all. In my research, a blogger suggested, that while researching the park, to look up the Moxie Bottle Stand. I am so happy I did. Look at this thing! (Photo to the right). “The powers-to-be at Moxie decided to design a trade show booth which was a 32′ high by 10′ diameter replica of the distinctive Moxie bottle, complete with label and bottle cap, with doors and windows used to purvey samples of the distinctive beverage to the clamoring public.” After traveling around the Northeast for a number of years, the bottle then became a permanent fixture at Pine Island Park until 1919.
THEN! The Messiers of Manchester decided to take the now abandoned bottle and build it into their cottage home on the lake where it stood until the 1990s! It was then purchased, dismantled, and brought to Maine. It still resides, unassembled, in Maine where a group is trying to raise the funds to preserve and re-build this quirky masterpiece!